Ray Brescia: Sandy, Social Media and Journalism's New Frontier

But for one night, the traditional journalistic techniques were of no use against Sandy’s fury. Rather, thousands upon thousands of micro-documentarists took to their windows, the streets, and the internet to track Sandy’s paces and share them with the world. The pointillist vision crafted by many hands offered not just a sense of the events as they transpired, but also of the emotion — the fear, the determination, and even the wonder — shared by those in the midst of the catastrophe. Tweeted pictures from mobile phones flew over the ether; Facebook posts kept everyone informed and connected, even as the power and light faded; and common sense punditry prevailed. Just as Clay Shirky tells us, the barriers to entry were down, and everyone had a thought, a vision, an idea and a prognosis. And there was time for humor too. Images of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man descending on Manhattan, resurrected from his gory, cinematic death, circulated in sardonic cheer.